Monday, January 21, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #12

In the heart of every preacher is a longing and a need for meditation. This is Paul's instruction to Timothy in 1 Tim. 4:15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. The Greek word for meditate is MELETAO, and its root means "to care about." The word itself has the meaning "to attend to something carefully." Preachers must attend to their duties as pastors, evangelists, teachers, etc., with the utmost care, being certain to make them top priority in life. If a preacher allows his mind to get off the things of God and on mundane and sinful things, he will lose a great blessing for himself and for many others whom he may be able to teach the things of God. Meditation is not an effort to release all things from our minds; it is the effort at staying our minds upon Christ and the work that he has called us to do. We must be obsessed about the work of God. If we take college training, whatever we study must be used in some way for the work of God; that is our whole duty.

The Greek word for "give thyself" is a word that literally means "be thou." The root word means "to be present." We should always be present at the Lord's work. We should never veer off the path of service to Jesus Christ. The words "wholly to them" means "to be in them." So literally the Greek says, "meditate on these things and be in them." Do not just read about them, do not simply listen to your pastor teach them, do not debate them; just be in them, or practice them. Knowing is not enough; preachers must "practice what they preach." The only way to practice these things consistently is to meditate upon these things.

We must do this so that our profiting (progress) may appear (be evident) to all (everyone). Everyone must see in our lives what we say we believe. Peter said he believed that God had opened the door of salvation to the Gentiles and that they were not under the Mosaic law; but when he was confronted with practicing the same, he could not do so in the presence of other Jewish brethren. Then Paul confronted him to the face about this. Peter was preaching one thing but practicing another (Gal. 2:11-15).

Do preachers today practice what they preach? Some certainly try to do so, but many are very loose with their living though strong in their talking. I just heard this past Sunday about a preacher (thankfully not Baptist) who committed an immoral act while being pastor, and the church wants to fire him. This is an example of a preacher's saying one thing and doing another. His reputation will be marred for the rest of his life.

Paul did not want to be a castaway, so he kept his body under subjection every day. Thus we must do, not simply by negative discipline, but by a day-to-day meditation upon the word of God and a daily practice of righteous things. This is not an easy thing to do, but we preachers must do it. We who try to live godly lives need to continue to do so, because the ministry is maligned often for its sin. Jesus said in Matt 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

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